Summary of Contents
About the pose
This name, Marjary comes from Sanskrit script, meaning ‘cat’. The pose Marjaryasana (cat) – Bitilasana (cow) is a combination of two poses practiced together to gently warm up the spine and the abdomen for more challenging postures or is sometimes also practiced as a simple restorative pose. Coming on all fours, and gently moving the back in a rhythmic way, and taking the position like that of a cat or a cow, releases the tensions around the spine and shoulders and tightens the abdomen to make a stronger core.
- Lower Back
- Middle Back
- Core (Abs)
How to do the pose
- Start on your hands and knees (all fours) with knees under the hips and wrists under the shoulders or slightly forward
- Spread your fingers and press through the base of the fingers and the fingertips
- As you exhale, pull your belly in, lift your side waists, round your spine and release your head towards the floor
- Actively press the floor away and feel the stretch in the back body
- Inhale and come back into your neutral starting position.
- Ask a friend to place their hands on your upper back to help activate that area
- Try initiating the movement from your tailbone first and then moving up the spine so your head drops last. This can help you explore the curve in different parts of your back.
- Gently massages the spine, increasing mobility
- Stretches the back and neck
- A great warm up before yoga practice paired with Cow pose
- Increases circulation of spinal fluid
- Strengthens the muscles the hands and wrists and prepares them for Downward Dog.
Watch out for
- If you have a neck injury, keep your head in the neutral position
- If you have wrist or knee injuries you can substitute with a seated or lying down version of Cat and Cow poses.
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- Understanding about yoga
- Try the seated version: Sit on a chair or in an easy cross-legged position. Place your hands on your knees and round your spine into Cat pose on the out-breath. Add the Cow Pose on the in-breath
- Try the standing version: Stand with your legs hips width apart, knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your thighs and round your spine on the out-breath. Add the Cow Pose on the in-breath
- Make a Cat – Cow sequence into a core awakening exercise by extending out your opposite arm and leg in Cow pose and then drawing the elbow back and the knee to nose in Cat pose
- Alternatively, use Cat and Cow pose as an exploration of the spine